Both teams know that Lee is a difference maker and will be paid accordingly.
According to SI’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees have a big advantage in terms of money and also have a seventh year. But he is also quick to point out that the Rangers, despite offering less money and only six years, do play just four hours away from Lee’s home in Arkansas.
Lee has known about these offers for a few days now, and has had a short time to decide where he will take his services next year and beyond. But the longer it takes, the more it seems to me that he is leaning towards Texas.
Of course that is just my opinion, and it goes against everything we've heard about Lee just wanting to go to the highest bidder.
But if he were to return to the Rangers, it would hurt the Yankees in several ways.
The first one is the most obvious. The Red Sox have upgraded their offense in a big way by signing Carl Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez, while the Yankees have basically the same team as last year.
So if Lee doesn’t sign with the Yankees, they will have missed out on pretty much all the big name free agents while the Sox will look a lot better on paper as they head into the season.
Another aspect that has been overlooked by many is Andy Pettitte. All he cares about is winning another ring and he likely would not return for money or personal stats. If he feels the Yankees don’t have a good enough team to win the World Series, then I believe he will retire.
Signing Lee would certainly put the Yankees in a better position to win it all, and I think that Pettitte would come back if they were able to sign Lee. If they don’t get Pettitte or Lee, then the Yankees are kind of in a bind, suddenly needing to find two starting pitchers for next year.
Any way you slice the pie, it’s plain and simple—Lee or bust.